Inciting hatred towards a group of persons or restricting their rights and freedoms. This is how the chanting of the slogan of a free Palestine from the river to the sea could be classified, according to the lawyers. In fact, it denies Israel’s right to exist. The slogan is often chanted by people at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Prague as well. The Czech police do not yet know how to deal with this.
From the river to the sea Palestine will be free. Granting such a wish would wipe Israel off the map. Terrorists from Hamas and, more recently, demonstrators in Prague have been using the slogan. “It refers to the destruction of Israel. It refers to the destruction of Jews living in Israel,” pointed out Petr Papoušek from the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic.
“The police deal with any speech that could meet the criminal law level,” said Jakub Vinčálek, spokesman for the police presidium. But it’s still fumbling here. It is not clear if the password can be put on the same level as, for example, sending someone to the gas.
“It’s a gray area, so it needs to be codified in terms of the law as it is,” thinks Papoušek. According to a specialist in international law, at least the leaders of the demonstrations must know that the slogan is not only about freedom.
“It’s a question of intent, whether there is a direct intent. Whether what he just wants is to incite hatred. That could be criminal,” noted lawyer Athanassios Pantazopoulos.
“If someone publicly, either knowingly or unknowingly, supports the idea of violently ending the existence of a sovereign state, i.e. in this case Israel, it cannot be tolerated,” stressed MEP Ondřej Kovařík (ANO). “The European Union is preparing another resolution that will call on member states to start fighting against this wave of extremism,” revealed MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (KDU-ČSL).
“The development in this area, whether in our country or in the world, is moving in such a direction that it will become more and more difficult to identify whether it is a criminal offense or not. And a black-and-white view will no longer be enough,” said lawyer Jan Černý.
Another pro-Palestinian demonstration is taking place in the center of Prague already this Sunday. Police expect about 300 people to attend.